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Langur cops vs monkey thieves

Hyderabad, Sept. 6: Monkey menace' How about primate ‘police’'

The Andhra Pradesh government, flooded with complaints from devotees that monkeys were harassing them at bathing ghats in the hilly ranges, has realised that the best way to make a monkey out of monkeys is to pit them against each other.

So now it is black-faced langurs versus red-faced monkeys.

The administration’s move to deploy its monkey force came in the wake of complaints that monkeys, of the red-faced variety, were stealing fruits, food packets and even bags and clothes of devotees when they went for baths at the ghats of Sri Sailam, Vedadri, Amaravati and Vadapally.

The authorities first tried out conventional methods to solve the problem.

But all efforts by police and firemen failed to drive away the mischievous primates. With complaints pouring in, the authorities then sought the help of the Nehru Zoological Gardens to supply langurs, known for their aggressive instincts, to scare away the red-faced species.

Langurs have often attacked people in search of food.

Shailaja Rama Iyer, the district collector of Vijayawada, says quite a few langurs have been placed at vantage points on the ghats. “They are chained but their very presence is keeping the red-faced ones away, giving relief to the devotees and the authorities.”

The government’s move seems to have come in the nick of time. With the Krishna Pushkaran festival ending tomorrow, officials say the surge of devotees to the bathing ghats has been increasing every day.

Under the watchful eyes of the langurs, they can now at least take their holy dip in peace.

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